Catriona Futter – Equip For Life Coaching Becoming your best self and living life to the full – 07713 974138

Going back to school (after all these years…)

What would you say to yourself of 30 years ago?

Life skills at school

Life skills at school

This was the intriguing situation I found myself in last week. Along with three other ‘grown ups’, I was asked to share what I considered to be essential life skills with approximately 100 16/17 year olds. These were the new S6 pupils at elder daughter’s secondary school, and the event was part of an induction week in preparation for their final year at school.

Our brief was to talk about our own careers, and share the life skills we believed were most important for these youngsters to learn as they embarked on life beyond the confines of school. At face value, this was quite a straightforward request. We could all have talked off the cuff about how we ended up doing what we do and being where we are. But as we discussed our respective inputs before the event, we agreed that there was rather more to this than first met the eye.

What would you say to a 16 year old that would be relevant, of interest, and would catch their attention?

What would you say that would stay with them beyond the event? That would go deep enough to penetrate the layers of post modern, consumerist, instant social media culture in which they live?

As it happens, and with no prior consultation, each of us said a version of the same thing

the importance of hard work, of developing good character and communication skills, of growing in self awareness and self confidence.

Learning resilience. Believing in who you are on the inside, and not in the false persona of you that has to have the latest and the newest whatever-it-is because that is what society tells you.

Learning not to be motivated by instant gratification but exercising self control and self discipline – be it in the areas of money, studying, health. So un-cool and un-glamorous, but heartfelt and impassioned pleas from all of us.

I left school nearly 30 years ago. What would I have taken on board and actually absorbed at that age that would have positively influenced the life I have led since?

My words to them were that they had far more power than they realised – power to be self aware, power to listen with a view to understanding, power to delay gratification, and power to choose.

This last for me is key, and ties in with my musings here over recent weeks:

No one else can take responsibility for my life except me.

The only aspect of life that I can consistently work on over which I have control is – me.

I can choose how I behave, how I speak, how I respond to challenges and difficulties, how I prioritise my time.

Would I have heard that and taken that on board at age 16? Would you?

How prepared am I to take that on board now?

This week I had a joyous catching-up with a precious friend from college. We laughed a lot about what we were like then, and talked about what life is like now and how our perspectives have changed. Much has happened in the intervening 26 years, and for us both, the foundational principle we have learned is that life is transient and very precious.

And it struck me that I, more than ever, need to heed my closing words on life skills to the S6 young folk –

take some time to consider not only what you want to do in life, but who you want to be.

Inspired? Encouraged? Get in touch!

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